Two members of far-right organization the Proud Boys were indicted Jan. 29 in federal court in DC for conspiring to obstruct law enforcement. One is accused of taking a riot shield from a Capitol Police officer and then using it to smash a window in the Capitol Building.
Dominic Pezzola, 43, of Rochester, New York, and William Pepe, 31, of Beacon, New York, were indicted in federal court in the District of Columbia on charges of conspiracy; civil disorder; unlawfully entering restricted buildings or grounds; and disorderly and disruptive conduct in restricted buildings or grounds.
Pezzola was also charged with obstruction of an official proceeding; additional counts of civil disorder and aiding and abetting civil disorder; robbery of personal property of the United States; assaulting, resisting, or impeding officers; destruction of government property; and engaging in physical violence in a restricted buildings or grounds.
Pepe and Pezzola were originally charged by criminal complaint and arrested on Jan. 12 and 15, respectively.
According to the charging documents, Pezzola and Pepe are members of the Proud Boys, a group self-described as a “pro-Western fraternal organization for men who refuse to apologize for creating the modern world; aka Western Chauvinists.”
Proud Boys members often wear the colors yellow and black, as well as other apparel adorned with Proud Boys-related logos and emblems. A release provided by the DC United States Attorney’s Office (USAO) cites allegations that both Pepe and Pezzola possess tactical vests branded with the Proud Boys logo, and have attended various Proud Boys gatherings and protests.
According to the indictment, Pezzola and Pepe engaged in a conspiracy to obstruct, influence, impede, and interfere with law enforcement officers engaged in their official duties in protecting the U.S. Capitol and its grounds on Jan. 6. Pezzola and Pepe are accused of taking actions to “render ineffective” the protective equipment deployed by Capitol Police in riot control measures, including actions to remove temporary metal barricades erected by the Capitol Police and stealing property belonging to Capitol Police.
Pezzola is also accused of ripping away the riot shield of a Capitol Police officer attempting to control the crowd in the west plaza of the Capitol. He can be seen on video that has been widely distributed, using that riot shield to smash a window at the US Capitol.
The ATF and FBI continue to urge the public to report suspected use of explosive devices, or violent, destructive acts associated with the recent unrest. Anyone with information can call 1-888-ATF-TIPS (1-888-283-8477), email ATFTips@atf.gov or submit information anonymously via ReportIt.com.
The FBI is looking for individuals who may have incited or promoted violence of any kind. Anyone with digital material or tips can call 1-800-CALL-FBI (800-225-5324) or submit images or videos at fbi.gov/USCapitol.